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Balfour, Gerald William, second earl of Balfour (1853–1945), politician and psychical researcher, was born on 9 April 1853, in Edinburgh, the seventh of eight children of James Maitland Balfour (1820–1856), MP, sportsman, and country gentleman, and his wife, Lady Blanche Mary Harriet Gascoyne-Cecil (1825–1872)...

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Barrett, Francis (fl. 1780–1814), writer on magic and demonologist, described himself as a 'Professor of Chemistry, Natural and Occult Philosophy, the Cabala, etc.' (Barrett, Magus). His dates of birth and death, and his antecedents, are unknown. A dated manuscript translation of part of ...

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Barrett, Sir William Fletcher (1844–1925), physicist and psychical researcher, was born in Jamaica on 10 February 1844, the son of a Congregational minister, the Revd William Garland Barrett (1812–1865), missionary for the London Missionary Society, and his wife, Martha Barrett, née Fletcher (1811?–1893)...

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Besterman, Theodore Deodatus Nathaniel (1904–1976), psychical researcher and bibliographer, was born on 22 November 1904 in Łódź, Poland, and named Nataniel. He was the second son (there were no daughters) of Benjamin J. N. Besterman, diamond merchant, and his wife, Golda Augusta Krengiel...

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Bond, Frederick Bligh (1864–1945), architect, author, and psychical researcher, was born on 30 June 1864 at Marlborough, Wiltshire, the third son of the Revd Frederick Hookey Bond, headmaster of Marlborough Royal Free Grammar School, and of his wife, Mary Isabella Dela Fosse. He was educated at ...

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Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882–1966) self-portrait, 1908 [with a copper-plate printing press] © Alvin Langdon Coburn

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Coburn, Alvin Langdon (1882–1966), photographer and mystic, was born on 11 June 1882 at 134 East Springfield Street, Boston, Massachusetts, the only child of James Alvin Coburn (1849–1891), manufacturer of Coburn and Whitman shirts, and his wife, Fannie E. Howe (d. 1928)...

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Cooper [Cowper], Thomas (b. 1569/70, d. in or after 1626), Church of England clergyman and writer on witchcraft, was born in London and attended Westminster School, apparently with help from the Fishmongers' and Skinners' companies. On 17 December 1586, aged sixteen, he matriculated as a queen's scholar from ...

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Crowley, Aleister [formerly Edward Alexander] (1875–1947), author and occultist, was born on 12 October 1875 at 30 Clarendon Square, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, the elder child of Emily Bertha (née Bishop) and Edward Crowley (d. 1887). A daughter died in infancy. ...

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See Pendle witches Lancashire witches

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A. C. Bickley

revised by Richard D. Harrison

Dugdale, Richard [called the Surey Demoniack] (b. c. 1670), demoniac, was the son of Thomas Dugdale of Surey, near Whalley, Lancashire, who was a gardener and servant to Thomas Lister of Westby, Yorkshire. An otherwise obscure individual, Dugdale owed his contemporary notoriety to a series of pamphlets published in the late 1690s concerning his alleged possession and exorcism. According to these pamphlets, ...

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Fabell, Peter (fl. 15th cent.), supposed magician, was popularly known in the folklore of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as the Merry Devil of Edmonton. The earliest known sign of Fabell's legend was a poem in ottava rima called Fabyl's Ghoste, printed by ...

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Fortescue, Thomas (b. in or before 1545, d. 1602), translator and alleged sorcerer, was born probably at Fallapit in Devon, one of six sons and four daughters of Lewis Fortescue (d. 1545), baron of the exchequer, and his wife, Elizabeth Fortescue, daughter and heir of ...

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Gardner, Gerald Brosseau (1884–1964), publicist of the Wicca religion, was born on 13 June 1884 at Serpentine North, Great Crosby, Lancashire, the third of four sons of a Liverpool timber merchant, William Robert Gardner (d. 1938), and his wife, Louise Barguelew Ennis (...

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Gregory, William (1803–1858), chemist and psychic investigator, was born at St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh, on 25 December 1803, the fourth son of James Gregory (1753–1821), professor of medicine in the University of Edinburgh, and his second wife, Miss McLeod. He was descended from a long line of '...

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Edmund Gurney (1847–1888) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Gurney, Edmund (1847–1888), psychical researcher and psychologist, was born on 23 March 1847 at Hersham, Surrey, the third son and fifth child of the Reverend John Hampden Gurney (1802–1862) and his wife, Mary Grey (d. c.1857). He had eight brothers and sisters. From 1861 to 1863 he attended a private boarding-school at ...